Friday, February 21, 2014

Lost Shipping Container Count Grows After Incident at Sea but Better News for Maersk Elsewhere

Myanmar New Target for World's Largest Box Group
Shipping News Feature

DENMARK – SRI LANKA – MYANMAR – News this week from the world’s largest container shipping line with an update on the Svendborg Maersk incident in which freight was swept overboard whilst transiting the Bay of Biscay in high winds and the revelation that AP Moller-Maersk is to consolidate its Burmese operations with the opening of its own office in Myanmar in the next couple of months.

Obviously with the weather as it was Maersk was unable to assess the losses from the Svendborg Maersk until she was able to reach the port of Malaga which she did on February 17. The collapsed stacks of boxes was then re-stowed and on board equipment, damaged in the incident, repaired. The ship, bound for Colombo, lost many containers overboard with the usual ongoing dangers from semi submerged units.

The vessel's surveyors calculate that 520 containers were lost overboard during the incident which occurred in 60 knot winds with accompanying waves up to ten metres. It has been established that around 85% of the containers lost were empty and none of the loaded units held any hazardous goods. Maersk Line says customer service representatives will keep shippers informed of the status of their cargo as soon as it has been accurately assessed and Palle Laursen, Vice President of Operations, Maersk Line, said:

“The total number of lost containers turned out to be even worse than we feared. Svendborg Maersk experienced extreme weather conditions, but also unexpectedly forceful impact on its movements. We will now carefully examine our procedures to see if they need correction in order to avoid similar incidents in the future. As of now we remain focused on supporting our vessel crew and are dedicated to getting correct information about lost or delayed cargo to our customers and ultimately get the ship back in service as soon as possible.”

In Myanmar, the Danish giant is to establish its own office after obtaining the necessary licences to trade permanently in the country. The office, due to open in Yangon in May 2014, will replace the services previously offered by Win Universe, Maersk having had independent representation in the country for the past two decades.

The new office will represent not only Maersk Line but subsidiaries such as Safmarine, MCC Transport and possibly Damco and a spokesman said the company expected cargo volumes to grow in the country reaching 1.2 million TEU’s by 2020.

Photo: The number of vessels calling at Yangon is growing steadily